Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally set for August 8th


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For more information, contact:                                                                     For Immediate Release

Rev. Karl Anderson/ 352-339-3851                                                                             July 23, 2015

Jackie Johnson/955-7545

Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally set for August 8th

Families can get a great start to the school year and learn about preventing violence at the 2015 Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally set for Saturday, August 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Santa Fe College Gymnasium. This is the 16th year the event is being held.  It was created and is still coordinated by People Against Violence Enterprises (PAVE). The event, sponsored by a variety of businesses and community organizations, including primary sponsor Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., offers entertainment, guest speakers and information booths. Meridian will provide the first 2000 children attending the fair with free backpacks filled with school supplies.

The goal of the rally is to give parents and students important tips on preventing violence in their neighborhoods, homes and schools and to help them prepare for the upcoming school year. This year’s theme is ‘What’s the Matter: Respect,’ with a focus on encouraging young people to respect themselves and others.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Emerald Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, the New York City man who died in July while being arrested.

Reverend Karl Anderson is the founder and president of PAVE.

Quote from Reverend Karl:

"This year our purpose is to instill value into the lives of our children.  If they know their worth then they will have more of a respect and honor for themselves. They need to know that their lives matter in addition to others' lives, including their families, the community, as well as their faith."

Alachua County Public Schools will again be on hand during the event to provide back-to-school information. Families will be able to pick up school calendars, school supply lists and information meet-your-teacher events, school meal programs and other school-related topics.

Other local agencies will also be on hand to provide vital services and information, including the Alachua County Health Department, which will be offering free school immunizations.

Local businesses interested in having a presence at the Rally or contributing to it are encouraged to call Brecka Anderson at (352) 505-6839.

16th Annual Back to School Stop the Violence Rally

Pastor Karl Anderson with Martin Luther King Jr III

Wow! I am honored and humbled by this award. To God be the glory for the things he has done! Thanks to the MLK Commission for selecting me on behalf of our work with PAVE (People Against Violence Enterprises, Inc).

"Good Morning Rev. Anderson,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc., I am officially informing you that you have been chosen as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Drum Major for Justice Award. This award is presented annually to faith leaders that demonstrate the deeds and principles of non-violent social change espoused by Dr, King.

Again, congratulations on being selected as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Drum Major for Justice Award. We look forward to seeing you on April 3rd at the Best Western Grande Hotel . Please reply your acceptance of the award upon receipt of this email. As Always, I am

Keeping the dream alive,
Honorable Evangelist Rodney Long
President & Founder Martin Luther King, Jr, Commission of Florida, Inc." P.A.V.E. "Paving the way for a more peaceful community for our youth."

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To the Editor in Chief-

I write this letter this morning with a challenged heart, knowing that there are 20 children who will never open their Holiday gifts, never see their stockings hanging over the fireplace and never anticipate Santa coming to their house.  My question is what can we do to prevent this from happening?  This is the question that is plaguing the minds of many across our Nation.  As the president of People Against Violence Enterprises, Inc., (PAVE), I want to challenge us to pray more.  The Bible suggests, that we pray without ceasing.  (I Thessalonians 5:17) While I am not sure of the statistics, it is evident that incidents such as this are occurring more since prayer has been taken out of schools.  However, what can we do now?  Well, prayers can reach where we cannot.  If you believe in the power of prayer, then pray.  The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man of availeth much. (James 5:16) I believe that prayer makes a difference, changes the atmosphere and gives us all hope.

What else can we do?  We can help lobby for governmental funding to be spent more on things that help prevent these horrible incidents.  For example, putting more emphasis on violence prevention through education and rallies, supporting Mental Health services, encouraging the use of gun locks, tightening the reins on who can buy weapons through a more extensive and diligent qualifying process, teaching conflict resolution, and ensuring that each of our schools are properly secured with onsite presence of Law Enforcement.

Here in our fair city of Gainesville, we have been fortunate to not have had a major incident.  In 2000, several school shootings occurred in the US including the tragedy at Columbine.  In response to the disturbing trends, I asked the Lord what I could do to prevent anything like this from happening.  In response, I launched the first Stop the Violence Rally under the auspice of PAVE.  Meridian Behavioral Healthcare immediately partnered with PAVE, and then other entities jumped on board, like the Office of the State Attorney, the City of Gainesville, Alachua County, Gainesville Police Department (GPD), Alachua County Sheriff, Black on Black Crime Task Force, WTMG Magic 101.3 FM, WCJB TV 20 and the Gainesville Sun.  Since then, more entities have joined the efforts, like Alachua County Public Schools, Leadership Gainesville, and many other partners.

Cohesiveness is alive in our community.  I had the pleasure of attending a COPS conference on last year with GPD and the theme was “Collaboration…Working Together”.  They had many representatives from different cities around the US sharing how they are working together to dispel the increase in violent crimes in their areas.  What I realized was that a lot of the cities were just starting to do it, not because there is a definite attribute to being unified, but because of limited financial resources.  However, I am glad that other cities just as Gainesville are working cohesively to prevent violence.

Even with all of our efforts, I can truly say that we still have strides to go in North Central Florida, but I am proud of our entities deciding to come together 14 years ago even when the economy was much better, because they saw the vision God had place in my heart and recognized and reacted to the need.

In closing, I will personally continue to rally for peace and justice in our area and abroad but I cannot do it alone.  I want to encourage everyone to think of the 26 innocent victims of the Connecticut school shooting which includes 20 Kindergarten and first grade babies who will never open their Holiday gifts, never see their stockings hanging over the fireplace and never anticipate Santa coming to their house, to get involved in some way that will safeguard the futures of our innocent children and heroic school staff.  In the meantime, take time out to hug, kiss and pray over your babies and other loved ones each day.  Shalom.

Pastor Karl Anderson |